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Will Klobuchar and Smith Vote for Shutdown Over Saving Children’s Health Program?

Minnesota has effectively run out of federal funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The program covers health care costs for 125,000 Minnesota children. But now there's a chance to salvage the program, if the U.S. Senate, including Minnesota Senators Klobuchar and Smith, vote to avoid a federal government shutdown. Democrats have railed over Congress' failure to re-up the program for months, joined by members of Minnesota's delegation. The Minnesota media added to the chorus. Minnesota will have to spend $178 million over the next 18 months if Congress fails to reauthorize a federal health insurance program that covers 125,000 children in...

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Rochester Spends $150,000 on “New Destination Brand”

If there's one city in Minnesota that ought to think twice before throwing away taxpayer dollars on creating a "brand" it's Rochester. The first thing that comes to mind at the mention of Rochester? Mayo Clinic. It may be the seat of Olmsted County, but Rochester has long enjoyed a reputation far beyond our borders as a medical center and research powerhouse. Hence Rochester's nickname Med City. But it's a "New Year, New Brand" as of January 1, 2018. The Rochester Convention and Visitors Bureau, just renamed Experience Rochester MN, even lists "the top ten facts you need to know about our new...

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Legislators Threaten to Eliminate State IT Agency Over DVS Mess

The geniuses that recently named Minnesota the best run state clearly never had a run-in with Driver and Vehicle Services. The public and political impatience with the beyond embarrassing breakdown of DVS' new and not-so-improved MNLARS vehicle registration system came through loud and clear in the Pioneer Press account of a legislative oversight hearing this week. When will the problems plaguing Minnesota’s vehicle registration system be fixed? No one would say Thursday, amid repeated questioning from frustrated state lawmakers, one of whom suggested that the state’s entire IT department be dismantled and those who worked on the system be purged from state...

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Minnetonka Residents Fight City Hall Over Bike Trail

Twin Cities drivers are finally waking up to the reality there's virtually no stopping urban planners intent on converting miles and miles of roadways to bike lanes, regardless of congestion and other consequences. But now some residents say Minnetonka city officials and biking special interest groups want to go off-road as well, converting a quiet neighborhood park into a magnet for mountain bikers in the suburb. On its website, city planners insist no decision will be made about the proposed mountain bike trail in Big Willow Park until after another public meeting on January 8. City staff has heard from many residents regarding...

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Mapping The Swamp of the Administrative State

It's impossible to get your arms around the reach and cost of the federal bureaucracy in our lives and pocketbooks. But a new analysis by a government oversight group provides confirmation it's even more massive than many of us think. The Daily Signal breaks down the distressing findings of the report, appropriately titled "Mapping The Swamp: A Study of the Administrative State." Looking at 78 large agencies, the nonprofit organization OpenTheBooks.com found that the average salary of a federal employee exceeds $100,000 and that roughly 1 in 5 of those on the government payroll has a six-figure salary. Almost 30,000 rank-and-file government...

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“Resist Trump” Racial Equity Program Pockets 275k From MN Taxpayers

Minnesota cities, counties and state agencies have spent more than $275,000 in taxpayer funds on a provocative racial equity program led by a national leftwing advocacy group that urges local governments to “resist Trump” and bases its training for public employees on the premise that government institutions and workers are inherently racist, whether they realize it or not. “The Alliance leads with race, with the recognition that the creation and perpetuation of racial inequities has been baked into government,” according to the Government Alliance on Race & Equity (GARE) website. “From the inception of our country, government at the local, regional,...

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Why Would Congress Punish Colleges That Decline Federal Funds? A Hillsdale Mom Makes the Case for That ‘Hillsdale Exemption’

I checked with experts on the Hill this morning: the tax bill could be amended in conference to add new provisions like the 'Hillsdale Exemption' (it's called "air dropping"). But since the Senate is using the reconciliation process to pass the bill, it could get hung up under the Bird Rule as "too prescriptive" and force another vote on the bill. That is a risk too great to take. Corrections should be made later. College-bound scholarship students are counting on Congress to take that vote. ...

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State Hires Private Company in Panic Over Drivers Licenses

The heat's on at Driver and Vehicle Services. Not only over the botched roll-out of the new and not-so-improved high-tech MNLARS vehicle registration system that continues to cause chaos at registrar offices statewide. Now it's dawned on the Department of Public Safety that the same thing could happen next fall when the technical wizzards at MNIT and DPS debut a new drivers license system that includes federal REAL ID requirements. But the Dayton administration just blinked, effectively firing MNIT and DPS by hiring a private company at a cost of $26 million to tackle the job, according to the Star Tribune. Following the...

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Center of the American Experiment Joins Amicus Brief in Forced Union Fees Case Before U.S. Supreme Court, Unions Push Back

The Janus case is expected to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court in January of 2018 so stay tuned. The case is first and foremost a defense of Free Speech and Liberty, which if successful, will begin to restore some sanity to our country. Why should public employees have to support the political speech of a union in order to keep their jobs? And what price have we paid for monopoly funding to government unions for the last 50 years? How has our electoral and legislative process been warped? ...

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Can New Management Salvage Disastrous New Vehicle Licensing System?

Tens of thousands of Minnesotans have been traumatized by a close encounter with the state's new dysfunctional vehicle licensing system. It's so bad that Gov. Dayton recently apologized for the beyond embarrassing debut of a system that was tens of millions of dollars over budget and years late in development. The rocky roll-out appears to be giving the legendary meltdown of the MNsure website in 2013 a run for the taxpayers' money. It was obvious long before the system went live last summer that the state's MNIT unit designing the system needed to go back to the drawing board. Or better...

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